Breast cancer is common in older women, particularly those in menopause. Genetics, lifestyle and diet are factors that can make you prone to breast cancer. There is nothing scarier than facing a life’s crisis at the age 40 or 50 or beyond, thanks to breast cancer. A few lifestyle changes and a shift to a healthy diet can go a long way in decreasing your risk of breast cancer.
According to nutrition experts, a diet inclusive of plant-based foods can protect you from many types of cancers, including breast cancer.
Fruits, vegetables and herbs are rich in phytochemicals that can shield the body from diseases, as well as antioxidants that protect cells from damage.
Nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats. Some of these plants contain phytoestrogens that can also help with breast cancer and menopausal symptoms.
There are foods that promote better breast health. They are good for women of all ages. In fact, you should eat the following foods, even when you are far from the beginning stages of menopause:
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale and arugula are some of the cruciferous vegetables you can easily add to your diet for better breast health. These vegetables can prevent cancer in three ways.
- They contain phytochemicals, particularly sulforaphane. In a recent study supported by the National Cancer Institute, sulforaphane destroys cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
- They contain indole-3-carbinol, or a compound thought to prevent breast cancer and other types of cancer.
- They contain glucosinates,which help the body get rid of cancer-causing carcinogens.
In 2012, at the annual meeting of American Association for Cancer Research, researchers from China presented the findings of their four-year study.
The study took place from 2002 to 2006, focusing on the benefits of cruciferous vegetables in breast cancer patients.
More than 4,800 breast cancer survivors participated. The results suggested that eating cruciferous vegetables substantially reduced the women’s risk of dying from breast cancer or suffering from a recurrence.
To get the most out of these benefits, you can stir fry or steam these vegetables. Boiling and over cooking these vegetables will strip themof their nutrients and other helpful compounds.
Flaxseed is one of the best sources of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are compounds or nutrients found in plants that have estrogen-like functions in the body.
In one of the research studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, lignans are a potent compound that can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in menopausal women. They also help alleviate hot flashes during the menopausal stage.
Sesame seeds are also good sources of lignans. You can use flaxseed oil for salad dressing or add grounded flaxseed to your salads, too.
Salmon and other cold-water oily fish, such as herring, sardines and tuna are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that can boost your immune system and slow down or prevent the growth of tumors with their anti-inflammatory properties.
The finding of a study in Cancer Epidemiology, Bio markers & Prevention suggests that taking fishoil supplements for a minimum of 10 years can reduce your risk of developing ductal carcinoma. Also, eating about eight ounces of salmon or other oily fish a week gets you the same results.
Walnuts, the same with salmon, are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, along with phytosterols and antioxidants,which can prevent or slow down tumor growth.
Researchers from the Marshall University School of Medicine in West Virginia were led to this conclusion after feeding a group of mice two ounces of walnuts per day and feeding the second group of mice other fat sources with the same caloric value. After 34 days, the mice fed with walnuts developed tumors, but was only half the rate of the mice fed with other fat sources.
If you are a coffee drinker, this is one more reason not to stop from enjoying your morning or afternoon java.
According to a Breast Cancer Research last May 2011, drinking approximately 24 ounces,or three to four cups of coffee a day, can lower your risks of developing breast cancer.
The author,Jingmei Li, Ph.D., stated that the antioxidants abundant in coffee protect cells from damage to prevent cancer. However, this study needs further research, so don’t increase your coffee intake just yet.
6. Fiber-Rich foods
The results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that increasing fiber intake may lower a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
The participating researchers discovered that the intake of 10 grams of fiber could decrease the risk of breast cancer up to seven percent.
Apart from promoting better digestion necessary to maintain a healthy weight, this finding is another important motivation to add fiber-rich foods to your diet. Some foods that are full of fiber are whole grains, artichokes, lentils, barley, dates and raspberries.
Parsley is rich in apigenin, a compound that could inhibit the growth of cancer cells. This was the conclusion of researchers from the University of Missouri who fed parsley to animals.
It significantly improved the animals’ resistance to cancerous tumor growth. Celery also contains apigenin. You can simply add chopped parsley to your salads or any everyday dishes, and munch on celery stalks for a snack.
8. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are rich in essential nutrients, including folate, which scientists believe can lower breast cancer risks.
To get the anticancer benefits of leafy greens, you should consume at least 400 micrograms in one or two servings daily.
Apart from leafy greens,some of the excellent food sources of folate are Brewer’s yeast, lentils, edamame, black beans and oranges.
9. Plums And Peaches
These two delicious fruits contain phenols, organic compounds responsible for the fruit’s taste, smell and color.
In a test done in Texas AgriLife Research Lab that involved natural treatments for breast cancer, the result showed that phenols killed even the most aggressive cancer cells without destroying the healthy cells.
10. Olive Oil
Olive oil comes with many health benefits, and one of them is the possible reduction of breast cancer risks.
In a study initiated by scientists from Spain, olive oil encourages the death of cancer cells in tumors.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids or healthy fats, which make it a good option. Use the standard olive oil for frying, and extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings.
Many women prefer breast augmentation to enhance their breasts. However, it is a procedure that can put your breast health at risk. Topical products can also help you get firmer and fuller breasts. Total Curve Supplement and Total Curve Firming and Lifting Gel contain natural ingredients that can effectively stimulate breast growth.
Knowing someone suffering from breast cancer makes you fear for your own health. But, you can do something to prevent it from happening by incorporating these 10 foods in your diet, which all promote better breast health.